Experimental Determination of the Solubility of PGE in Hydrothermal Chloride Solutions
There is debate in the scientific literature as to the extent to which the platinum-group elements (PGE, e.g., platinum, palladium, iridium) can be transported and concentrated by hydrothermal fluids to form ore deposits. The debate is hampered by a lack of experimental data with which to test the hypothesis that hydrothermal processes play a role in the concentration of the PGE to economic levels. To redress this lack of data, a series of experiments will be conducted. Some of these experiments will attempt to determine the relative solubilities of palladium, platinum, and iridium in hydrothermal solutions of geological relevance. Other experiments will be conducted to simulate the effect of hydrothermal fluids on magnesium-rich; PGE-bearing rocks similar to those in many PGE occurrences. The latter experiments will attempt to directly model hydrothermal processes that have occurred in the Marathon copper-palladium deposit in the Coldwell Complex, Ontario. The mineral assemblages and conditions employed in the latter experiments will be based on concurrent field-based research on the deposit being conducted by colleagues at the University of Windsor (I.M. Samson, B.J. Fryer) and the University of Waterloo (R. Linnen). A postdoctoral fellow, an undergraduate student, and a graduate student will participate in the project and will be trained in aqueous geochemistry. Both will be encouraged to present their work at national scientific meetings, and the postdoctoral fellow will participate in teaching of undergraduate geochemistry. The project will strengthen and expand existing collaboration between the PI and Canadian colleagues. The results of this research will be of direct socioeconomic benefit via the development of improved exploration models for PGE deposits. They may also lead to improved methods of hydrometallurgical treatment of PGE ores and to a better understanding of the corrosion of PGE and PGE-alloys in hydrothermal solutions.